How to Sublet Your Condo (the Right Way)

Subletting your condo can be fraught with stress and worry because you’re giving a stranger the keys to your home. If you follow the best practices listed below, summarized in 4 easy steps, you can mitigate the risk of ending up in a very bad situation. The most important takeaway is not to forget that you’re letting a stranger into your home so you must conduct a thorough screening process of the potential subletter.

1. Get your landlord’s approval for the sublet.

You should take a look at your lease to see if it forbids subleases. That gives them tremendous bargaining power later because the tenant can use his/her knowledge that you’re breaking the terms of your lease to extort you.

2. Advertise your condo widely, but starting with those closest to you.

Subletting your home is a great way to bring in some income while you not living in your home. It is important to keep in mind that subletting is also a lot of work at times and takes some effort to find a suitable tenant. Their pre-existing relationship to you means that they’re more likely to treat you and your place with respect. Finding a law student to sublet likely meant that the subletter would be financially responsible and they likely had a reputation to keep up at school which meant they wouldn’t trash the place.

3. Conduct a Formal Screening of the Subletter

A formal screening of the subletter is a must. Even if the subletter pays rent up front, it’s important to know whether your subletter has a criminal or eviction record because that indicates the level of respect with which your tenant could treat your home while you’re away. When you sublet your apartment, you’re putting your reputation in the hands of your subletter so it’s of paramount importance that he/she can handle that level of responsibility. Even if it’s not worth your time to check the references up front, it’s important to have that information in the case that your tenant subsequently live up to his obligations. The references can be used to track down the tenant.

4. Negotiate a Sublet Agreement and Make Logistical Arrangements

After you’ve determined that the subletter passes muster, it’s time to reduce what you guys have discussed as the terms of your agreement into a formal document. Consider asking for a security deposit to cover any damage or unpaid rent which you would return upon the termination of the agreement.

Finally, make logistical arrangements for the subletter to move in. Make sure that your sublet agreement clearly states the monthly rent, the amount of the security deposit, and various policies before you finalize anything with a potential renter. You will want to verbally discuss these terms as well as have them in writing. Ensure you cover pet, smoking and utility policies as well as anything else that is pertinent to your particular property. You will want to make sure that both you and your prospective tenant are clear on all aspects of the rental and that everyone signs an agreement that clearly states all the terms and policies. If you do not own the property, it is important to get the landlord involved in the process as well.

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